• GVHeritage Group

The Coming of the Light

A poem inspired by research into the establishment of the Bristol Gas Light Company and the changes it brought to the city.


‘The Coming of the Light’

In the beginning

We lived and died

We loved and lost

By the light and dark of seasons


In Spring  - the lengthening days

In Summer -  the sun’s sharp rays

In Autumn’s dull glow,tallow candles lit the work

And lit the way

In dead of Winter, the spark, the flame

Of small fires in the day.


We dyed the silk

We pressed the cloth

Our fingers broken

Our hands are smite

We dyed the silk

We pressed the cloth

Before the coming of the light


Come the light, we saw anew

The true colours of the cloth

The Flame Red, Burnt Sienna,

 The Jade and Indigo

Came the light

We saw abright


In detail and in form

The filth and squalor of ourselves

Came the light

Thee and me

We saw ourselves

And each other

Came the light


Our trades, our names, our noble crafts

Illuminated all

One by one, year by year

Come the light, we saw us all


The Alchemists and Armourers

And the Borrellers of yarn

The Clothier and Culver

The Dykeymans long arm

The Eggler and Embosser

The Featherbeaters cough

The Gaunter, Graver, Gelder 

The Hankyman, the Hoff.


Iron Founder, Jiggerman

The Knocker-Up at dawn

The Lattener and Luthier

The Millers of the corn

The Nedeller and the Nightman

The Owler in the night

The Pelterer and Pikeyman

The Quarrell Pickers blight


Rattoners, Reeders, Scutchers, Skelps,

Tosers, Toshers, Tripesmen

 Ulnagers and Upholsterers

The Vintagers delight

The Weavers and the Wafters,

The Xylomans sharp smite

Every Yatman and Zincographer

Saw the coming of the light


Our trades, our names, our noble crafts

Illuminated all

One by one, year by year

Come the light, we saw us all


In the beginning

We lived and died

We loved and lost

By the light and dark of the seasons

In Spring  - the lengthening days

In Summer -  the suns sharp rays

In Autumn’s dull glow, waxy tallow candles lit the way

In dead of Winter, the spark, the flame

Of small fires in the day.


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